Gov. Jerry Brown announced pardons for 79 individuals today, from convicted marijuana growers to drunk drivers, who served their sentences and committed no other crimes for at least a decade.
Most of the pardons announced today -- 61 -- involved drug crimes, many of which carried no prison sentence. One of the pardons involved involuntary manslaughter, four grand theft, four robbery and three felony driving under the influence.
The pardons handled out by the governor on one of the slowest news days of the year include Kenneth Joe Benedict, a Sacramento County resident convicted of criminal conspiracy to manufacture drugs. He was discharged in 1995 after serving two years in prison and 11 months on parole.
Like others pardoned, Benedict asked for the governor's consideration after obtaining court certification he has "lived an honest and upright life" since his release, according to the boilerplate language of the gubernatorial declaration.
A pardon doesn't erase a criminal record but it does restore some of a convicted felon's rights. including, under certain conditions, their constitutional firearms rights. It also allows them to serve on a jury.